Blog 115: 3.7.1 - 3.7.7

This is one of the most memorable passages in all of the Institutes beginning with those words, "We are not our own..." For Calvin, self-denial and cross-bearing are the twin (negative) marks of our holiness. In this section Calvin is at his most eloquent. You can hear the preacher in him: "we are God's: let us therefore live for him and die for him. We are God's: let his wisdom and will therefore rule all our actions. We are God's: let all the parts of our life accordingly strive toward him as our only lawful goal."

One can almost sense how disgusting pride was to the Reformer. The way of Christ is the way of self-denial, to think others better than himself. And what might this mean in practice? Consider what he he has to say about "giving" in 3.7.7. In giving we must imagine ourselves in the place of the one whom we see in need and give as though we were giving to own relief. Then, in answer to question, "How much?" Calvin responds, not with 10%, but with no less than love demands, "to set no other limit than the end of his resources."

Ouch!  Love gives and gives again and then, gives again.

Lord, give me a loving heart that gives and gives and gives.